Looking Deeply, Healing # 1

In the blog category “Guided Meditations”, I will provide detailed explanations for all the guided meditation tracks that I will place in the Resources section of this website. These blog posts will be hyperlinked from the “Guided Meditations” page under “Resources” menu option where these meditation tracks in mp3 format will be placed for streaming or for downloading.

Mindfulness of feeling tones is a very powerful application within the broad domain of mindfulness practice. There are three basic components to any emotion that arises within us: thoughts (or the story) behind the emotion, physical sensations that reflect how the emotion manifests itself in the body and the emotional mood or feeling tone in the mind. Feeling tone can be pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. It is the feeling tone keeps us hooked into our conditioning behavior of craving and aversion. We like whatever has a pleasant feeling tone, dislike whatever has an unpleasant feeling tone and are unaware of anything that has a neutral feeling tone.

Feeling tones can become a linchpin for transformation because our actions are most often based on them rather than on the emotions directly. The guided meditation entitled “Looking Deeply, Healing” (#1) as it appears in chapter IV of Thich Nhat Hanh’s “The Blooming of a Lotus” is based on conscious breathing where we train ourselves to acknowledge and smile at a variety of feelings that generate any one of the three feeling tones.

I would like to clarify the meaning of some of the terms that I am using here. “Feelings” as used in this meditation are synonymous with emotions. “Feeling tones” are different from “feelings” in the sense that there are only three feeling tones that underlie all the vast ranges of “feelings” or emotions that we experience. The main insight to be gleaned from the overall practice of mindfulness is that since the feelings or emotions are impermanent, their feeling tones are also impermanent. Therefore, there is no need to “act” on unpleasant feeling tones. Just by observing and being with them for relatively short period of time, they go away by themselves.

“Feelings” of fear, anxiety, anger, jealousy, etc. are often unpleasant or painful. The steady practice of mindfulness will help us acknowledge the painful feelings whenever it appears. In this way, we avoid being drowned by waves of the secondary feelings that our minds create in response to the primary feeling of pain. Once the mass of secondary feelings is gone, it is relatively easier to deal with the primary feeling of pain.

In this meditation, we are training our minds to smile to unpleasant feeling tones that are generated by feelings of pain, fear, insecurity, sadness, anger, jealousy, attachment, etc. We are also acknowledging and looking deeply at pleasant feelings.

Towards the beginning of this meditation, I request that we intentionally cultivate an attitude of patience, gentleness and kindness towards ourselves before we begin these exercises. It is very important that mindfulness meditations be accompanied by a sense of openness otherwise their effectiveness may be diminished. Towards the ending of this meditation, I request that we dedicate the merits of this practice to ourselves as well as to all others by affirming these statements:

“May I be happy, may I be peaceful, may I live with ease.
May all beings be happy, may all beings be peaceful, may all beings live with ease”

At the end of the day, we are practicing mindfulness meditation not just for ourselves but also for all others.

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